Fresh bid for free schools on estate

Proposed school site, Middlemore, Daventry.
Proposed school site, Middlemore, Daventry.

A new bid has been launched to get a free primary school, and potentially a new secondary school, for Daventry.

It has emerged that the Middlemore Residents’ Association was working with The David Ross Educational Trust on its bid for a primary school on the estate, and that the trust, which already works with the Welton Academy primary school, is looking to get a free secondary school ‘in the area’.

The residents previously submitted a free school application supported by E-Act. However, it was turned down by the Department for Education. No official reason was given, but the decision came shortly after E-Act was warned over ‘weaknesses’ in its financial reporting.

Tamlyn Coleman, one of the residents campaigning for a school, said: “The original bid was strong and we were disappointed it wasn’t approved, but that doesn’t stop us going for it again with a different sponsor.”

Karen Tweedale, from the residents’ association, said: “Obviously I’m disappointed with the outcome of the initial application. But we’re very optimistic about the future plans and working with the David Ross Educational Trust.”

David James, a district councillor covering the estate, said: “There has to be a school on Middlemore, there’s no question. It will be years before the school on the planned Monksmoor estate opens, and we need places now.”

Wendy Marshall, chief executive of the David Ross Education Trust, said: “I am delighted to confirm that The David Ross Education Trust is in early discussions with Middlemore Residents’ Association about taking the lead role in developing a free school on the estate. After reviewing the proposal that was submitted to the Department for Education, it is clear that there is strong community support for a school.

“As the trust has been looking at the possibility of opening a secondary free school in the area, we believe that there is an exciting opportunity to develop a through school in Middlemore. If the local community supports this new plan, we will be looking to develop a proposal to submit in September.”